Roddick crashes out as Nadal, Davydenko push on | sports | Hindustan Times
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Roddick crashes out as Nadal, Davydenko push on

sports Updated: Jan 18, 2008 23:27 IST
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Andy Roddick crashed out of the Australian Open in a dramatic five-setter as other leading seeds Rafael Nadal and Nikolay Davydenko won their way into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.

American sixth seed Roddick fell to inspired German 29th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (11/9), 6-7 (3/7), 8-6 in a gripping third round match that see-sawed for almost four hours and finished early on Saturday.

Roddick served a career best 46 aces yet still lost an epic contest with Kohlschreiber playing his best-ever tennis.

The German will now have to regroup in time for his fourth round match against Finland's Jarkko Nieminen on Sunday.

Nadal used his get out of jail card while Davydenko rallied his way from the baseline into the fourth round earlier on Friday.

Nadal, the Spanish world number two, fought off six first set points to seal a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 win over French 28th seed Gilles Simon in two hours 26 minutes.

Nadal, bidding to win his first Australian title and in doing so capture the elusive world number one ranking off Roger Federer, has another Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu next up.

Low-profile fourth seed Davydenko is looking forward to a familiar baseline duel with Russian Davis Cup teammate Mikhail Youzhny after making the fourth round.

Davydenko was too strong from the back court for Frenchman Marc Gicquel, winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours 20 minutes.

Youzhny, who played for Russia in last month's Davis Cup final loss to the United States, defused rocket-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

Eighth seed Richard Gasquet set up an all-French fourth round match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after a 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Russian 31st seed Igor Andreev.

Tsonga, who knocked out British ninth seed Andy Murray in the opening round, accounted for Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

For Nadal it was an important victory in the context of chasing his first Australian Open title.

"Sure, it's an important win for me. In every tournament, you have to overcome difficult moments," Nadal said.

"I had one in the first round (against Serbian Viktor Troicki). Today was another time. It's important because you feel the pressure.

"In the first set I knew I was not doing the things I would like to do because I didn't play aggressively and didn't have the control of the point.

"I knew at some point in the match I would have to change. I had to try to start to play my forehand and move Gilles around the court.

"When I did that the match changed a lot."

Nadal has the possibility of claiming the world number one ranking off Roger Federer at this year's Australian Open.

Federer could lose the position he has held for a record 207 consecutive weeks if he fails to reach the semi-finals and Nadal goes on to win the Australian title.

Federer, as defending champion, has plenty of rankings points to defend here while Nadal, a quarter-finalist last year, has relatively few to carry over.

Davydenko, who remains at the centre of an investigation into a betting scandal following his defeat by Argentine Martin Vassallo Arguello last August, secured his third win over French opponents at the season-opening Grand Slam.

He followed up wins over Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut to outplay Tunisian-born Gicquel from the backcourt.